Sources close to The Batman explain how the DC film managed to secure a PG-13 rating, despite its “intense” action sequences.
While some fans believed director Matt Reeves’ The Batman might be rated R by the MPA, given its dark and intense promotional material, the Robert Pattinson-led movie has officially been rated PG-13 for “strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language and some suggestive material.” Now, those familiar with the project have explained exactly how The Batman managed to avoid an R-rating, despite the violent content present in the film.
Per Variety, sources close to The Batman say that while the film is “grounded more in reality than recent DC adaptations” and does indeed feature “intense action scenes,” what it does not have is “excessive foul language or nudity,” helping it to secure the PG-13 rating it was after. Furthermore, the “intense” action consists more of “exploding buildings and wrecked cars,” rather than “than merciless stabbings or shooting sprees.”
It’s not entirely difficult to see why some assumed The Batman would be rated R. In the five-year period from 2016 to 2021, there were six live-action, R-rated feature films based on DC comic books: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition, The Kitchen, Joker, Birds of Prey, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Suicide Squad. Compare that to the 10-year period from 2005 to 2015, in which there were only three: Constantine, V for Vendetta and Watchmen.
Furthermore, as previously mentioned, The Batman’s trailers have been pretty intense, featuring — among other things — the Dark Knight (Pattinson) violently beating a criminal who attacked him and withstanding a barrage of bullets at close range, not to mention the sinister actions of the serial killer known as Riddler (Paul Dano).
However, despite the recent uptick in R-rated DC films and The Batman‘s brooding tone, it’s highly unlikely that Warner Bros. and DC were ever targeting an R-rating for the movie. As some commentators have pointed out, every single live-action Batman solo film since 1989 has been rated PG-13.
Meanwhile, others have reminded fans that Batman has never needed an R-rating to push-boundaries, pointing to films that seriously tested the limits of PG-13, such as 1992’s Batman Returns and, more recently, 2008’s The Dark Knight, which featured no shortage of content many would likely find disturbing. Not only that, but the prospect of The Batman being rated R was effectively torpedoed all the way back in October, when LEGO released official toys based on the film. (LEGO has long had a well-known policy against producing products based on R-rated films.
The Batman hits theaters on March 4 before making its way to HBO Max on April 19.
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